A fatal accident on U.S. Highway 98 at Whispering Pines Boulevard in Navarre snarled traffic for more than three hours on Nov. 10 after a Santa Rosa County school bus slammed into another vehicle.
George E. Potter III, 64, of Navarre, who was driving a Geo Tracker, was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, Potter was stopped, waiting for the traffic signal to turn green at the intersection of U.S. 98 and Whispering Pines Boulevard at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday.
When the light turned green, Potter entered U.S. 98 to make a left turn.
At the same time, Jacqueline Lee Rock, 58, also of Navarre, was traveling west on U.S. 98 in a Santa Rosa County School bus when the traffic signal turned red.
Rock "failed to brake in time to stop for the red traffic signal," according to the report. She applied her brakes late, causing the bus to slide, continuing westbound on U.S. 98 and entering the intersection.
The bus struck the driver's door of Potter's Tracker, and the car was forced sideways, landing in the median of the highway.
Rock was transported to Santa Rosa Medical Center with minor injuries. There were no children aboard the bus at the time of the accident.
Zack Hamrick of Navarre was behind the Tracker traveling southbound on Whispering Pines when the light turned green and witnessed the accident.
Hamrick exited his vehicle and went to the driver to see if the man needed assistance. Hamrick checked for a pulse and asked the driver if he was ok, but got no response.
“He was just twitching, and there was no pulse in his neck,” Hamrick stated. The injuries to the driver were extensive and he was pronounced dead on the scene.
Santa Rosa County Sheriffs deputies were on the scene, as well as the Holley Navarre Fire Department and Florida Highway Patrol.
Roger Bell, General Manager of Durham Transportation, which operates the school buses for the county, came to look over the scene as well. He had no official statement on the cause of the accident.
Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash and both drivers were wearing their seatbelts.Charges are pending a traffic homicide investigation.